Descriptive Vs Prescriptive Grammar

Descriptive grammar: the systematic study and description of a language. Descriptive grammar refers to the structure of a language as it is actually used by speakers and writers. HOW LANGUAGE IS USED.
E.G I went to Lusaka to visited my uncle. In Descriptive Marking – How language is used. A teacher underlined [to visited]. Descriptive rule. Infinitive # to + past participle.

Prescriptive grammar: a set of rules and examples dealing with the syntax and word structures of a language, usually intended as an aid to the learning of that language. Prescriptive grammar refers to the structure of a language as certain people think it should be used. HOW LANGUAGE SHOULD BE USED.
E.G I went to Lusaka to visited my uncle. In Prescriptive Marking – How language should be used. A teacher cancelled –ed.

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The nature of challenges teachers face in using the Malawi Breakthrough to Literacy (MBTL) course to teach initial literacy to standard one learners in Mzuzu, Malawi

The nature of challenges teachers face in using the Malawi Breakthrough to Literacy (MBTL) course to teach initial literacy to standard one learners in Mzuzu, Malawi
By
Vera Chihana & Dennis Banda

ABSTRACT
Literacy is at the core of educational experience and is an essential key to success in educational endeavors (Farris, 2004). For n this reason, the government of Malawi through the Ministry of Education introduced a mother-tongue literacy course called Malawi Breakthrough to Literacy (MBTL) course in the year 2005. This was aimed at improving the literacy levels that were reported to be very low. Despite this profound intervention, literacy levels continue to be low. Much that there might be other causal factors leading to the low literacy achievements in the process of using the MBTL course, teachers are not exceptional. They might be encountering challenges in the process of teaching initial literacy to standard one learners using the MBTL course. The challenges teachers face when employing this literacy course, could be a factor towards the persisting low literacy levels.
Therefore, the current study sought to investigate into the possible challenges teachers who teach standard one learners face when using the Malawi Breakthrough to Literacy (MBTL) course to teach standard one learners. Particularly this study, which was carried out in the year 2010 and 2011, examined the nature of challenges teachers encounter which hinders the successful acquisition of initial literacy skills like reading and writing. It further provides recommendations which might minimize the challenges as established by this study which was conducted in Mzuzu, a commercial city, in the northern region of Malawi.
It was a case study and it utilized both qualitative and quantitative research designs. The combination of the research designs was to gain an understanding of the matter being investigated and to get a deep insight about the nature of challenges teachers face when teaching initial literacy. The research methods used in the study were: questionnaires, lesson observations and interviews. In collecting data, questionnaires, lesson observation guides and semi-structured interviews schedules were used.
The population of the study comprised of all teachers in Mzuzu who teach standard one learners using the MBTL course and all head teachers. All these were from government primary schools where the course is implemented. The sample comprised of forty teachers and ten head teachers.
The findings established that teachers are facing various challenges to teach initial literacy skills using the MBTL course. Analysis of questionnaires, interviews and lesson observations, revealed that the nature of challenges range from familiar local language of initial literacy teaching, teaching and learning materials and methods as well as classroom management.
The study further established that the course has very good features and strategies that can help teachers to teach initial literacy skills effectively. However the conditions in which the course is implemented are unfavorable. The unfavorable conditions present teachers with various challenges in using it to teach initial literacy skills effectively and efficiently. Consequently these challenges could be a factor leading to the low literacy levels in Malawi that are reported by the media and researchers.
In view of the findings the study therefore proposed the following recommendations that would minimize the challenges being encountered by teachers when teaching initial literacy skills; there is need to revisit the language policy of initial literacy teaching and learning, provision of sufficient and suitable teaching and learning materials, a need for a comprehensive in-service training for all teachers on how to use materials and methods of MBTL course as well as an improvement on the teacher-pupil ratio and the school infrastructure among others.
INTRODUCTION
Literacy is basically understood to be the ability to read and write. The issue of literacy development has been an area of inquiry that has gained wide spread interest of late. Malawi, like other African countries are facing great challenges in the development of literacy, more especially in the early years of formal education. In an effort to improve literacy rates that have always been reportedly low, the Ministry of Education introduced a mother-tongue language and literacy course called MBTL in the year 2005 in all government primary schools. The course is basically designed to develop initial literacy skills. It was piloted in two districts before it rolled to all government primary schools.
The Education system in Malawi follows an 8-4-4 structure comprising eight years of primary school, four years of secondary school and a minimum of four years of tertiary education levels. Primary education is divided into three sections; infant (Standard 1 & 2), junior (Standard 3, 4 & 5) and senior (Standard 6, 7 & 8). When Malawi attained independence in 1964, the government elevated Chichewa out of the other 16 languages, to the level of national language as well as school subject to be learnt from standard one onwards in all government primary and secondary schools. In the same year English was chosen as the official language for communication in public administration, business and commerce and education. It was also to be taught as a subject from standard one onwards. In 1996, the government through the Ministry of Education (MoE) reviewed the language of instruction policy and introduced the use of mother tongue as medium of instruction from standard one up to four (Ministry of Education; 1996). Chichewa and English remained national and official languages respectively and also as school subjects. The policy stipulates that in standards 1 to 4, a dominant familiar local language of the area where the school is located, be used as medium of instruction. The review of the language policy in 1996 at the lower primary school level was aimed at improving literacy rates. The policy still stands today. The familiar local language is also used to teach initial literacy skills for the MBTL literacy course that was introduced six years ago.
However, despite the policy review in terms of language of instruction and other innovations the MoE had put in place, research reports of low literacy levels among primary school learners persisted (Williams 1998; SAQMEC 2001; IEQ 2003). In addition, studies by Chilora (2001) revealed that many learners could not read and write both in Chichewa and English by the time they completed standard 2. The reports recommended that there was need for appropriate strategies which could be used to raise the levels of literacy acquisition in primary schools. Hence the introduction of MBTL course in the year 2005.
AN OVERVIEW OF THE MBTL COURSE
Breakthrough to Literacy (BTL) is a Molteno’s unique mother-tongue literacy course for primary schools, based on learner-centered and language-experience approaches. The course systematizes the Language Experience Approach to the mother-tongue, utilizing the oral skills the child brings from home to the classroom as the basis for learning to read and write. These oral or listening and speaking skills are basic to successful learning, and they constitute a starting point in the teaching of literacy through the Breakthrough methodology. Breakthrough to Literacy builds on these skills to develop reading and writing skills. Thus it uses the language experience approach.
Breakthrough to Literacy is originally a British course which was designed in the early 1960s’ and launched in the 1970s’ to help young children acquire early reading and writing skills (Horner, 1972). This intervention was initially designed to prepare teachers through short courses to assist children with special education needs and who could not read and write in the early school years. In Africa, Breakthrough to Literacy was first developed by a South African nongovernmental organization called Molteno Project in 1998 and later spread to other African countries including Malawi. In Africa, local languages are mostly used to teach literacy skills to young children when they begin formal education. The breakthrough to literacy approach to teaching contends that learners be taught how to read and write in their familiar local language.
In Malawi the course was initiated as part of an innovation of the new curriculum known as Primary Curriculum and Reform Assessment (PCAR). In standard one, an hour is set each day to teach learners how to read and write easily and accurately in their familiar languages. The most familiar language used in Mzuzu is Tumbuka which teachers are supposed to use to teach. This helps learners to see in printed form, words that they use in their everyday talk. They realize that what they read is something familiar only that it is presented in a different form. This makes MBTL course, a language experience approach to teaching reading. The teacher starts with what learners already know, their spoken language, to what is to be known, a written word.
A class is set in such a way that learners are divided into four groups with a group leader each and the entire first term work focuses on introducing learners to school life and learning. This is divided into three units namely; orientation, promotion of sensory motor development as well as games, plays, songs and dances. It is in the second and third term when teachers begin the actual teaching of learning how to read and write.
METHODOLOGY
Research design
It was a case study and the unit of study was a group of teachers who teach standard one learners using the MBTL course. The study used both qualitative and quantitative research. This was aimed at enhancing an understanding of the matter being investigated.
The study population
The target population of the study consisted of all teachers who teach standard one learners using MBTL course as well as administrators of primary schools in Mzuzu district.
The setting
The setting of this study was government primary schools in Mzuzu town, northern part of Malawi. Ten primary schools formed the study’s case. Within each school, the study was interested in teachers who teach standard one learners and this obviously meant that standard one learners were part and parcel of the population of interest. Other key actors within the primary school such as head teachers were also considered as part of the population since they play an important role in supervising, guiding and directing activities of the school.
The sample
The sample for this study consisted of 40 teachers teaching standard one learners using MBTL course and 10 head teachers; one from each school. These respondents were selected from 10 out of 37 government primary schools in Mzuzu district. Each of the school had an average of four standard one teachers.
Sampling Procedures
Random and purposive samplings were used in the study. 10 schools were randomly selected from the 37 schools. Purposive sampling was used to select teachers who teach standard one learners using the MBTL course. 10 head teachers, one from each of the ten randomly selected schools, formed part of the sample.
Research Instruments
The following three research instruments were used to collect data from teachers and head teachers:
1. Questionnaires:
Questionnaires were administered to all the 40 teachers. They helped gather the general information about the teachers’ challenges to teach initial literacy skills using the MBTL course. It was used as a long interview guide. The information captured lead to sources and areas to be interviewed and observed respectively. This instrument had both closed and open ended questions.
2. Classroom observation guide:
This instrument helped to provide first hand information about the real classroom situation and practices. Further, it helped in understanding the teacher behavior patterns and the challenges faced in the physical and social classroom context. Observations were only on few teachers/lessons; teachers who were observed are the same ones who were interviewed.
3. Semi-structured interview guides:
These were of two types: The first type was for the teachers who were interviewed as a follow up to classroom lesson observations. This helped to clarify matters that had risen from observations as well as questionnaires. The second type was for head teachers who were also interviewed to verify on the challenges teachers encounter with regards to their teaching of initial literacy skills using the MBTL course.
Data Collection Procedures
Data was collected between January and March 2011. Procedures involved were as follows: Questionnaires were administered to all the 40 teachers. Secondly, lesson observations were conducted to 10 teachers, one from each school but on separate arranged days. These teachers were selected from the forty teachers who answered the questionnaires. The selection depended on the responses given by the teachers and other characteristics relating to the research objectives. Teachers who were observed teaching were also interviewed soon after the lesson. Head teachers were interviewed on the days the classroom lesson observations were made.
Data analysis procedures
SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Science) was used to analyze questionnaires and simple statistics in form of frequencies and percentages were run for data interpretation. Data was then fused into the data collected through lesson observations and interviews. This was because questionnaires were purely used as long interview guide. Data from lesson observations and interviews were analyzed by identifying common themes and categories with respect to the study objectives. Later all data were linked by making contrasts and comparisons. Thereafter interpretations and conclusions were made.

FINDINGS ON THE NATURE OF CHALLENGES TEACHERS ENCOUNTER
The study established the following major findings as nature of challenges teachers face when teaching initial literacy skills using the MBTL course. The challenges are related to language of initial literacy teaching and learning, MBTL teaching/learning materials and methods, training, time constraints and classroom management;
 Challenges with language initial literacy teaching and learning.
Teachers are teaching in areas where language for literacy teaching is very unfamiliar for them to use for teaching. Furthermore, learners are not of the same language background. Above all, the texts used are in Chichewa when most of the learner’s familiar language is Tumbuka. This kind of arrangement where there are differences in the familiar language used to teach between the teachers, the learners and the text books has brought pedagogical challenges for most of the teachers.
 Challenges with the teaching and learning materials.
The course is supposed to have MBTL kit that is specifically designed to teach initial literacy skills. However, teachers do not have all the necessary materials for teaching the way they were trained. Instead the materials that are available and are used by the teachers are text books, posters and flip charts which are not enough to effectively assist in teaching all the necessary skills step by step as recommended by the course.
 Challenges with MBTL course methods
The study also established that teachers are not adequately equipped with knowledge about the course methods to teach initial literacy. This is due to inadequate time that was set for training that resulted into teachers not to be sufficiently equipped with all the needed knowledge and skills to teach the literacy skills using the MBTL course.
 Challenges with MBTL lesson management
The other established challenge teachers encountered was in terms of managing all the four groups during the literacy hour lesson. This was because of over enrollment in almost all the classrooms where lessons were observed. This led to the management of learners in an MBTL lesson too involving and quite difficult for a single teacher especially when the class has low achievers who require individual attention.
 Challenges related to content
The MBTL class arrangement and content to be covered are in such a way that it is not easy for teachers to follow. It has an assumption that learners will be present in class all the days of the week, month and year. Missing one lesson means the teacher has to find some extra time to cover the work to those who were not present as the next day the teacher has to cover new work. Teachers always panic in the way they teach because there is no time for those learners lagging behind. One hour per day for four days a week, has been proved not enough to effectively teach initial literacy skills. There are a lot of activities to be done within the one hour period for all the four groups hence lack of sufficient time for revision and individual help. Time allocated for literacy teaching does not match with the amount of content to be taught. This problem is aggravated with many learners per group per class.
 Challenge with over enrolment when using the MBTL course.
The study further established difficulties of teaching literacy skills in overcrowded classrooms. Most of the classrooms have over 70 learners making it difficult for the teachers to provide individual support, constructive feedback and to employ necessary literacy skills when teaching. This is aggravated with understaffing and absenteeism in many schools which means more work for teachers who already have a lot to do in order to successfully help learners acquire initial literacy skills.

RECCOMMENDATIONS
In view of the established challenges the study further suggested a number of recommendations that might minimize or eliminate the challenges encountered by the teachers. They are as follows:
 The policy on language for initial literacy teaching and learning should be revisited on its practicability so that there is mutual understanding between teachers and learners in the teaching and learning process.
 The system of teacher deployment by the Ministry of Education, should take into consideration the teachers familiar language in relation to at least that of the learners. This is more specific with those teachers trained to teach initial literacy skills using the MBTL course.
 Teachers and stakeholders who participated in the MBTL course training should be involved in developing teaching and learning materials so that the materials are appropriate and sufficient for teaching initial literacy skills. Teachers should be sensitized on the need to improvise their own materials as a whole school initiative rather than the prescribed texts and materials only. This will also ensure production of the materials in abundance instead of translating the Molteno materials that brings about copy right problems.
 Furthermore, a comprehensive training of teachers is needed for the MBTL course program to be successful. Teachers will only do better if they are highly and properly trained and oriented for the MBTL course to teaching initial literacy. In addition, intensive in-service training should be conducted frequently to assist teachers gain adequately the required skills and knowledge needed to develop initial literacy skills in the young learners. Local nationals, who are experts in initial literacy teaching, should be given utmost priority to conduct in service trainings for the ongoing MBTL course. However guidance and technical expertise from other literacy experts other than the locals are also needed to support the reforms.
 In terms of time allocated for teaching literacy, which is one hour per day, there is need for additional time due many learners per class. This could be possible, for instance, if actual teaching of initial literacy should come as early as first term so that there is enough time to spread the work in all the three terms of the school academic year.
 The role and involvement of head teachers in the improvement of teaching literacy skills should extend from administrative to instructional leadership. Head teachers need to take strong leadership role at the classroom level to ensure compliance to concepts and practices of the literacy reforms. They should provide guidance and support in addressing the challenges teachers face when teaching initial literacy skills. In addition there is need for a great improvement of both internal and external monitoring and evaluation.
 In terms of over enrolment and overcrowded classrooms, the Ministry of Education, stakeholders and communities altogether need to construct more classroom blocks to create more space and reduce the overcrowding in classrooms for the successful implementation of MBTL course methods. In so doing, it will be easy for MBTL teachers to teach effectively using all the necessary MBTL course methods.
 To balance up the teacher-pupil ratio, there is need to train more teachers in order to give teachers time to attend to individual learners as well as those with learning problems. This will reduce time spent on classroom management to actual teaching. In addition, teacher training schools should provide an explicit, relevant understanding of initial literacy skill teaching and learning.
 Adopting programs wholesale is not an effective way of which to some extent, is the case with MBTL course. Flexibility, applicability and ample time should be given priority when adopting these literacy programs. The conditions have to be favorable and conducive for the successful implementation of the program, otherwise, all the effort would be in vain.
SUMMARY OF THE STUDY
The study based on the objectives and findings concluded that there are many challenges that teachers encounter in their teaching of initial literacy to standard one learners using the MBTL course. The challenges are in the nature of familiar local language for teaching and learning, teaching and learning materials and methods as well as classroom management. The challenges could be minimized or eliminated if necessary and favorable conditions could be put in place. However, it requires a strong cooperation amongst all the concerned players like teachers themselves, head teachers, PEAs, Institute of Education, Ministry of Education and the Government of Malawi together as a team to minimize the challenges that teachers are facing in their noble job of teaching initial literacy to standard one learners using the MBTL course.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Many thanks to my supervisor Dr Dennis Banda and other lecturers on Literacy and Learning programme for their support during the entire study period and particularly research work. I do not forget all the head teachers, teachers and learners who were involved in this study, for without their cordial assistance, this research work, would not have been completed.
REFERENCES.
Chilora, H.G. (2001). Investigating the Role of Teachers Home Language in Mother Tongue Policy Implementation: Some Evidence from some IEQ Research Findings in Malawi. A paper presented at the Comparative and International Education Society Conference in Washington D.C, U.S.A, March, 2001.
Chiuye, G. (2009) Comparative Studies of Recent Literacy Programs Piloted in Malawi and Mid-Term Evaluation of Beginning Literacy Programs in Malawi. Centre for Research Studies, Zomba: University of Malawi.
Farris,G.,(2004). Assessing Learning Literacies. Hershey, PA: Idea Group
Horner, L.(1972). Teaching Children How to Read. Washington DC. National Institute of Literacy
Mchazime, H.S. (1996). Use of Mother Tongue as a Medium of Instruction in Malawi: A Paper Presented at the International Seminar on Language in Education, at Cape Town, South Africa.
The Daily Times (Malawi’s Premier Daily), Friday, September 10, 2010

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STRATEGIES AND TOOLS THAT FACILITATE RESEARCH UPTAKE: A FOCUS ON SITWE’S RESEARCH UPTAKE, COMMUNICATION AND UTILISATION MODEL

STRATEGIES AND TOOLS THAT FACILITATE RESEARCH UPTAKE: A FOCUS ON SITWE’S RESEARCH UPTAKE, COMMUNICATION AND UTILISATION MODEL
by
Sitwe Benson Mkandawire,
University of Zambia – 2013

Research uptake strategies and tools are like sharp kitchen utensils that can either serve us or leave us bleeding depending on how we handle them. Issues of research uptake and utilisation worldwide are equally like a war between researchers and research institutions versus the public, private and civil society sectors such as policy makers, NGOs and the industry. This is not a war of guns, bombs, blood and fire but that of attitude, ego, rudeness, habits, research communication illiteracy, negligence and ignorance, Mkandawire (2013:1).
Strategies in this article refer to deliberate plans or actions to achieve your research uptake and utilisation goals while Tools refer to specific guides, instruments or activities for implementing your general strategy.
The central task of all research institutions is to provide an environment in which one is able to discover, innovate, and initiate new knowledge that the world has never known and not act as mere platforms for research for the sake of research. The community can only know this new knowledge through specific strategies and tools for science dissemination. All research institutions are expected to use such a resource if their institutions are to be recognised by others and the international community. This is what Linda Cilliers in her article ‘Leveraging your institution`s research’ observed when she said “One of the smartest ways for a university to raise its profile is to use what many already have in abundance—research”. The crucial issue this article is trying to address is: how does the world and other institutions know about this already existing abundant research without appropriate strategies and tools for research uptake?
African research institutions’ capacity is a key resource for social change, innovation, policy makers, reformation and national development but it is under-resourced and under-utilised, and consequently not fulfilling its full potential. Currently, there are many research institutions in the world and Africa in particular that carry out different forms of research and science at different levels. Yet, science and research uptake by public, private and civil society sectors such as policy makers, NGOs and the industry is still a challenge. Research uptake challenges are equally at different levels. One of the major challenges is lack of strategies and tools or modalities of enhancing scientific research uptake. Many of these researchers and research institutions want to have their research, science, innovations and technologies up-taken by the end users. They do not have strategies, tools and means to do so.
Some research institutions have the strategies and tools that can facilitate research uptake but does not have effective and adequate means to reach to the end users. Many times, such institutions are those without specialised offices for research uptake as noted by Sara Grobbelaar in her DRUSSA blog article tagged ‘Building institutional capacity for Research Uptake’ when she noted “it is important that individual actors be enabled to become proficient in the management of Research Uptake (RU), efforts to get research into use will not come to fruition unless the institutional environment is conducive to such activity”. By extension Grobbelaar suggests that even if an institution has the necessary strategies and tools that can facilitate research uptake, they may not reach the end users without effective research uptake management. In most cases, such institutions bleed for not handling these strategies and tools well. The tools are not serving them. Institutions that adequately utilise research uptake strategies and tools have little to complain about research uptake in their communities because they make sure that whatever come out of research from their institutions is effectively utilised by those in need.
There are many strategies and tools for researchers and research institutions that can be used to facilitate research uptake by public, private and civil society sectors. These strategies and tools are summarised in ‘Sitwe’s Research Up-take, Communication and Utilisation Model (Sitwe’s RUCU Model)’ below in a table form.
Sitwe’s Research up-take, Communication & Utilisation Model
Options Strategies Tools
one Come up with institutional research uptake aims, goals and objectives Research Uptake Strategic plan
Two Find means of accounting for whatever research is done at your institution List of representatives from units, sections, departments or schools to report monthly on research completed
Three Create institutional friendship with possible research up-takers Memorandum of understanding with public-private-civil society sectors
Four Go to possible institutions that can uptake your research door to door visits convincing them that they need your research or the importance of your research Mobile unit team from research uptake offices at the research institution.
Five Organise research and science media briefings inviting media houses and possible up-takers and end users TV, Radio, Newspapers, Social Media, Electronic Media, Print Media
Six Establish research and science dissemination media programmes with Media houses TV, Radio, Newspapers, Social Media, Electronic Media, Print Media
Seven Create online research uptake websites, blogs and social media accounts Uptake site, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc
Eight Create a series of research and science television videos for research uptake Television programme
Nine Create a series of research and science radio audios for research uptake Radio programme
Ten Start a research and science column or page in a named newspaper for uptake Newspapers
Eleven Conduct public lectures, seminars,& conferences on Research & Science uptake Awareness and sensitization campaign
Twelve Identify and use research uptake & communication intermediaries’ mediators or disseminators Specialised research uptake officer, Science Journalists, public relations officer or a Team
Thirteen Use entertainment industry for research uptake Drama, Music, Films & Art
Fourteen Go to gatherings not organised by you or your institution but meant for sharing ideas and share your research results whenever you have a chance Summarised Dissemination Guide distributed to participants.
Fifteen Use posters, banners and street adverts placed at strategic points that can be accessed by the majority Posters, banners, street adverts
Sixteen Use your contacts, friends & social networks to share your research results in a more summarised way Contacts, Friends, Social networks and result summaries.
Seventeen Write summaries of research to public, private and civil society sectors Policy briefs, flyers, newsletters, bulletins
Eighteen Organise informal social intercourse meetings such as cocktail, dinner, come together party and invite key research up-takers and share your results Party, Cocktail, dinner, social gatherings. (If people are drinking beer, make sure you share before they get drunk).
Nineteen Initiate a research and science magazine for uptake Magazine
Twenty Use traditional methods of research and science dissemination Publish a book, journal article or have a documentary.
Assumptions
On Success indicators Have a good financial budget, dedicated team, specialised workforce, create good will and understanding for research up takers, and be self motivated and enjoy what you are doing
Possible challenges Attitude, ego, rudeness, habits, research communication illiteracy, negligence and ignorance
NOTE: Sitwe’s Research up-take, Communication & Utilisation Model is a brand new model that was first presented in july 2013 at an international consortium workshop for Cooperate graduate link programme (CoGL) between University of Zambia and Siegen University of Germany.

Sitwe’s Research Uptake, Communication and Utilisation Model (Sitwe’s RUCU Model) is a practical tried and acceptable presentation of options, strategies and tools that can facilitate research uptake, communication and utilisation at a research institution or at an individual (researcher or scientist) level. Research institutions or individuals can choose either to follow all the options as presented with minor modifications or select options which they can quickly manage. The model presents three major issues:
(i) Options – that can be conveniently selected by individuals or research institutions to disseminate their research or science outcome for uptake by public, private and civil society sectors. There are twenty options and all these options are the same but some options have quick forces of uptake and utilisation attraction than others. Others can easily manifest quick outputs and outcomes for social impact.
(ii) Strategies – these are deliberate plans or actions that institutions or individuals can take for research uptake, communication and utilisation.
(iii) Tools – these are specific guides, instruments, mediums, modes and activities that research institutions or individuals can use for research uptake, communication and utilisation.
ADVANTAGES OF SITWE RUCU MODEL
(i) Sitwe’s Model has provided a practical foundation that would facilitate research uptake, communication and utilisation by the public, private and civil society sectors.
(ii) His model has found the inherent logic that underpins and hinders research uptake, communication and utilisation at institutional and individual level.
(iii) The random options provided where institutions and individuals can choose from provides it with a useful base for planning and devising research uptake, communication and utilisation strategies.
(iv) By giving specific tools, strategies and options, this model forces research institution and those involved in research to seriously think about their role in facilitating research uptake, communication and utilisation.

DISADVANTAGES OF SITWE RUCU MODEL
(i) Sitwe’s Model does not adequately provide possible risks to encounter with research up-takers in the field
(ii) The model does not adequately provide the exactly stimulus that would entice research up takers and their reactions

Research output is the basis for social change, innovations, and national development worldwide. Yet, research uptake, communication and utilisation are not easily attained. Every research institution and their researchers need to work consistently hard on research dissemination in order to stay afloat and see the show. We have never failed ourselves or our societies, but we have been delayed in some way and this is not failure because we always rise up again and again for the habits we built and the choices we made.

References
Grobbelaar, S. (2013). ‘Building Institutional Capacity for Research Uptake’. Available on http://www.drussa.org/index.php? Accessed on 21st June 2013 at 10 hours.

Ministry of Science, Technology and Vocational Training. (1996). National Science and Technology Policy. Lusaka: MSTVT.

Mkandawire, S. B. (2013). ‘Communicating Research Uptake: What to Present and How to Present It’. Available on http://www.drussa.org/index.php? Accessed on 21st June 2013 at 10 hours.

Panisset, U. etal (2012). ‘Implementation Research Evidence Uptake and Use for Policy-making’. open access – Panisset et al. Health Research Policy and Systems 2012, 10:20 http://www.health-policy-systems.com/content/10/1/20

Tesch, R. (1990). Qualitative Research Analysis Types & Software Tools. Great Britain: Routledge.

Thulstrup E. W. (1992). Improving the quality of Research in Developing country Universities. New Yolk: World Bank.

Wimmer, R.D. & J. R. Dominic. (1987). Mass Media Research; An Introduction. 2nd Ed. Belmont, Califonia: Wadsworth publishing Company.

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STRATEGIES AND TOOLS THAT FACILITATE RESEARCH UPTAKE

STRATEGIES AND TOOLS THAT FACILITATE RESEARCH UPTAKE
by
Sitwe Benson Mkandawire,
University of Zambia – 2013

Research uptake strategies and tools are like sharp kitchen utensils that can either serve us or leave us bleeding depending on how we handle them. Issues of research uptake and utilisation worldwide are equally like a war between researchers and research institutions versus the public, private and civil society sectors such as policy makers, NGOs and the industry. This is not a war of guns, bombs, blood and fire but that of attitude, ego, rudeness, habits, research communication illiteracy, negligence and ignorance.
Strategies in this article refer to deliberate plans or actions to achieve your research uptake and utilisation goals while Tools refer to specific guides, instruments or activities for implementing your general strategy.
The central task of all research institutions is to provide an environment in which one is able to discover, innovate, and initiate new knowledge that the world has never known and not act as mere platforms for research for the sake of research. The community can only know this new knowledge through specific strategies and tools for science dissemination. All research institutions are expected to use such a resource if their institutions are to be recognised by others and the international community. This is what Linda Cilliers in her article ‘Leveraging your institution`s research’ observed when she said “One of the smartest ways for a university to raise its profile is to use what many already have in abundance—research”. The crucial issue this article is trying to address is: how does the world and other institutions know about this already existing abundant research without appropriate strategies and tools for research uptake?
African research institutions’ capacity is a key resource for social change, innovation, policy makers, reformation and national development but it is under-resourced and under-utilised, and consequently not fulfilling its full potential. Currently, there are many research institutions in the world and Africa in particular that carry out different forms of research and science at different levels. Yet, science and research uptake by public, private and civil society sectors such as policy makers, NGOs and the industry is still a challenge. Research uptake challenges are equally at different levels. One of the major challenges is lack of strategies and tools or modalities of enhancing scientific research uptake. Many of these researchers and research institutions want to have their research, science, innovations and technologies up-taken by the end users. They do not have strategies, tools and means to do so.
Some research institutions have the strategies and tools that can facilitate research uptake but does not have effective and adequate means to reach to the end users. Many times, such institutions are those without specialised offices for research uptake as noted by Sara Grobbelaar in her DRUSSA blog article tagged ‘Building institutional capacity for Research Uptake’ when she noted “it is important that individual actors be enabled to become proficient in the management of Research Uptake (RU), efforts to get research into use will not come to fruition unless the institutional environment is conducive to such activity”. By extension Grobbelaar suggests that even if an institution has the necessary strategies and tools that can facilitate research uptake, they may not reach the end users without effective research uptake management. In most cases, such institutions bleed for not handling these strategies and tools well. The tools are not serving them. Institutions that adequately utilise research uptake strategies and tools have little to complain about research uptake in their communities because they make sure that whatever come out of research from their institutions is effectively utilised by those in need.
There are many strategies and tools for researchers and research institutions that can be used to facilitate research uptake by public, private and civil society sectors. These strategies and tools are summarised in ‘Sitwe’s Research Up-take, Communication and Utilisation Model (Sitwe’s RUCU Model)’.

Sitwe’s Research Uptake, Communication and Utilisation Model (Sitwe’s RUCU Model) is a practical tried and acceptable presentation of options, strategies and tools that can facilitate research uptake, communication and utilisation at a research institution or at an individual (researcher or scientist) level. Research institutions or individuals can choose either to follow all the options as presented with minor modifications or select options which they can quickly manage. The model presents three major issues:
(i) Options – that can be conveniently selected by individuals or research institutions to disseminate their research or science outcome for uptake by public, private and civil society sectors. There are twenty options and all these options are the same but some options have quick forces of uptake and utilisation attraction than others. Others can easily manifest quick outputs and outcomes for social impact.
(ii) Strategies – these are deliberate plans or actions that institutions or individuals can take for research uptake, communication and utilisation.
(iii) Tools – these are specific guides, instruments, mediums, modes and activities that research institutions or individuals can use for research uptake, communication and utilisation.

ADVANTAGES OF SITWE RUCU MODEL
(i) Sitwe’s Model has provided a practical foundation that would facilitate research uptake, communication and utilisation by the public, private and civil society sectors.
(ii) His model has found the inherent logic that underpins and hinders research uptake, communication and utilisation at institutional and individual level.
(iii) The random options provided where institutions and individuals can choose from provides it with a useful base for planning and devising research uptake, communication and utilisation strategies.
(iv) By giving specific tools, strategies and options, this model forces research institution and those involved in research to seriously think about their role in facilitating research uptake, communication and utilisation.

DISADVANTAGES OF SITWE RUCU MODEL
(i) Sitwe’s Model does not adequately provide possible risks to encounter with research up-takers in the field
(ii) The model does not adequately provide the exactly stimulus that would entice research up takers and their reactions

Research output is the basis for social change, innovations, and national development worldwide. Yet, research uptake, communication and utilisation are not easily attained. Every research institution and their researchers need to work consistently hard on research dissemination in order to stay afloat and see the show. We have never failed ourselves or our societies, but we have been delayed in some way and this is not failure because we always rise up again and again for the habits we built and the choices we made.

Sitwe Benson Mkandawire is a lecturer and researcher at the University of Zambia, Team Leader for the Research, Science, Media and Dissemination Committee of UNZA DRUSSA Implementation Team and Manager for the University of Zambia Platform for Research, Science, Technology, Innovation and Development at http://www.unzaresearch.org

References
Grobbelaar, S. (2013). ‘Building Institutional Capacity for Research Uptake’. Available on http://www.drussa.org/index.php? Accessed on 21st June 2013 at 10 hours.

Ministry of Science, Technology and Vocational Training. (1996). National Science and Technology Policy. Lusaka: MSTVT.

Mkandawire, S. B. (2013). ‘Communicating Research Uptake: What to Present and How to Present It’. Available on http://www.drussa.org/index.php? Accessed on 21st June 2013 at 10 hours.

Panisset, U. etal (2012). ‘Implementation Research Evidence Uptake and Use for Policy-making’. open access – Panisset et al. Health Research Policy and Systems 2012, 10:20 http://www.health-policy-systems.com/content/10/1/20

Tesch, R. (1990). Qualitative Research Analysis Types & Software Tools. Great Britain: Routledge.

Thulstrup E. W. (1992). Improving the quality of Research in Developing country Universities. New Yolk: World Bank.

Wimmer, R.D. & J. R. Dominic. (1987). Mass Media Research; An Introduction. 2nd Ed. Belmont, Califonia: Wadsworth publishing Company.

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Lessons learnt from the Neganega Literacy Programme by both local and international Literacy providers.

Lessons learnt from the Neganega Literacy Programme by both local and international Literacy providers.

Extract from Mkandawire Sitwe Benson (2012) An evaluation of the neganega literacy programme in Mazabuka district of the southern province of Zambia. Lusaka:unpublished Masters dissertation but available in UNZA library.

 

ü  The programme is performing well due to a number of factors: firstly, the aims, goals and objectives of the programme are valid and relevant to peoples’ lives. Secondly, the benefits of the programme are immediate and visible within the community and lastly, the inception, development and implementation of the programme involved all the stakeholders in the community.

ü  Due to the practical skills participants learned, the programme is able to reach a wide audience with a variety of target groups, thereby, commanding a great deal of acceptance from people both within and outside the community.

ü  Voluntary facilitators were very committed to community work even if they were not paid and because they were well-trained for the task at hand, they were perceived as credible sources of information about literacy, HIV/AIDS, sexuality and income generation.

ü  While lessons imparted important factual and practical information, the variety of applied programme components in business, reflect circle discussions, sensitization campaigns and community tours encouraged reinforcement of what students learned from the lessons.

ü  The use of local languages Tonga and Nyanja and the Informal interaction between programme participants and facilitators inside and outside the classroom through field trips developed trust, which made them more influential in the classroom and in the community.

ü  Monthly and annual meetings by programme facilitators to refresh their minds, share strengths and weaknesses provided an opportunity for the staff to learn new things and develop trust in each other.  

ü  If programme administrators do not create conducive learning environment, provide appropriate teaching and learning materials, a proper syllabus and put up a mechanism for guiding facilitators with lesson plans and other necessities, the programme might lose a lot of clients, popularity and later become moribund.

ü  The inadequacy of frequent monitoring of facilitators, follow up on graduates’ application of skills in the society might make the programme loose value in the near future.   

ü  The inadequacy of external motivation in the form of remuneration of facilitators, might create a sense of programme discontinuity in the near future even if administrators were to change facilitators.

 

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ZAMBIAN FILM INDUSTRY IMPROVING

The Zambian film industry is improving at a rapid rate following the changes in the television stations which is expected to be on course by 2013. The new digital broadcasting system will require television stations to run many stations using one broadcasting mode. They may run several channels through one antenna and this will require more content in those channels. Let Zambians make more content materials and programmes for this issue.   

 

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Gold Rush – A Hit Zambian film – campus life

GOLD RUSH is a hit Zambian Film made between January 2012 to May 2012 by Artfilms Zambia and Unzafilms. The executive producer says the movie will be on the market it June 2012. He described the production crew as professional and dedicated to the project. The actors and actresses too are exceptionally good.
Lombe one of the characters in the movie is caught up in a web of campus girls particularly first years. He has made a policy of getting one first year every year. This time, he has picked on a wrong one (Lulu) who is an undercover cop spying on an external guy Kafa before she comes into campus. Danny is a serious monk, roomate to Lombe and chargie standing for good morals and innocence. He treated lombe like a brother but Lombe’s misfortunes fall on him. He is helped by Lulu and undercover cop. Nguzi is a determined and self motivated fresher squatter to Mwaka and later thinks she has Danny a friend but all in vain. Mwaka is a Senior student who can do anything for money even prostitution. She shares similar characteristics with her friends Bupe and Inonge. BUPE too is a senior student who love money too and can also do prostitution as she love clubbing. INONGE is a roomate to Bupe but also a senior student who keep on changing character. When she is with bad girls she behave like them and vice versa. Lulu is a fresher squatting with Bupe. She kills Lombe in the process and the roomies and all the students do not know that she is cop. Muleya (The Orienter) is a senior student but have reservations for ladies with some fear. Thula is a fresher and girlfriend to the Orienter. she is looking for comfort and firm and she ends up in bed with Lombe the player. Kafa is not a student. He is an outside boyfriend to Lulu who is presented to be smart with few steps ahead in thinking. He surprised at the end to see that the girl he had been messing around with all along is a cop. GOLD RUSH is a movie worth watching typical of campus life. If you have intentions of going into college or university, watch this film and see for yourself.

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